NITN | @notintownlive | 30 Dec 2017
Kolkata, Dec 30 (NITN): Power Publishers completes 10 years on December 31, 2017. Pinaki Ghosh, the co-founder of Power Publishers, tells Olivia Chatterjee Biswas about the journey so far and what the future holds.
How did Power Publishers start?
The predecessor of Power Publishers was writer4me.com, which is a leading ghostwriter hire service. Started in 2006, writer4me.com had clients from America, Australia, Europe, Middle East and India who got their books ghostwritten by us. After that they were looking for publishers to publish their books. Power Publishers started in January 2008 to primarily cater to these clients of writer4me.com, to get their books published. Later, by 2010 Power Publishers did not depend on the client-base of writer4me.com and started getting enquiries from first time authors from all over India. From 2010 Power Publishers started functioning autonomously, not depending on writer4me.com for clients, and opened up to everyone.
What was unique about Power Publishers or its business model?
Power Publishers first brought in India the business model of selecting from a range of fixed price based publishing services offered as packages. That was back in 2008.
What were the challenges of the first few years?
Building awareness about self-publishing was a huge challenge. Today, first-time authors are aware that the best option for them is self-publishing. Back in 2010, people did not know what self-publishing was. We had to educate first time authors that this is the best way for them to get the ball rolling towards becoming a popular author. When we started our advertisement campaigns, they were more of awareness building campaigns. Another challenge was digital printing was not available. We had to go for large quantity printing using offset technology, which was expensive. Today we can offer the packages at lower cost because of digital printing technology where if we want we can print 5, 10 or 50 copies.
How did competition affect you?
Post 2013, competition did come in. It was fun competing with the big and respectable players in the market, because it made us improve our services and innovate new ideas. The smaller players, whom we call meteorites, came for a few months and then vanished. They were the ones who did not have any ethics and offered dirt cheap prices of self-publishing, to collect some money before vanishing without a trace. For them many first time authors were misled to believe that self publishing can be possible at very low prices. Presently the main competitors have made their own niche markets – some are catering to a narrow segment of wealthy authors who don’t mind spending rupees 1 – 3 lakhs for publishing; some others are catering to the middle segment, and we are catering to a large segment of first time authors who are on a tight budget. We are like a budget airline; you will get everything you are looking for, yet you will not feel the pinch in your pocket.
What were the milestones you achieved in the last 10 years?
Let me list them for you --
1. Bringing the concept of self publishing in India for first time authors.
2. Power Publishers brought video book trailers for the first time in India as a book promotion tool, back in 2011.
3. We started the author’s dashboard that displays live sales records in 2013. That made it very easy and transparent for authors to see how many of their books were selling from where and how much royalty they were earning.
4. Publishing compulsory Bengali textbooks for ICSE and ISC boards. That happened in February 2015. From that time, we also stepped into the arena of publishing our range of schoolbooks, including textbooks, workbooks and guidebooks. We came up with a range of guidebooks for West Bengal Board Madhyamik students.
5. Getting ISO9001-2008 certification after quality audit, in February 2016.
6. Starting our own film production division in 2016. We started by making television commercials and short films. In 2017 we produced music videos, came into the work of post-production and also completed the work of our first feature film Sin Sister, which is due for release in 2018.
7. We launched the first Bangla language audiobook mobile phone app from India, named Power Talking Books. It contains short stories and novels of the leading and most popular Bengali writers in audio format, complete with background music and foley sound effects.
What were the innovations you brought about?
Innovations are important and integral parts of businesses today. So, apart from the fact that we switched from off-set to digital printing, we offer a digital platform for tracking the sales of an author’s books. The author can access an automated digital system called the ‘Author’s dashboard’ where they can learn about live sales data and generate royalty against their books with ease. Recently, Power Talking Books is an initiative by us which is an audiobook app offering audio books of short stories and novels by best-selling Bengali authors.
What are the plans for 201?
We have a lot of exciting plans for Power Publishers in 2018. We plan to release Sin Sister, the major feature film from our film division Power Publishers & Motion Pictures in 2018. We expect a lot of projects of short films, web series, music videos, television commercials, post production, corporate films and maybe our next feature film to happen in 2018. We also plan to publish several bestseller authors under our traditional publishing brand name, Power Publishers Prime.
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